It is likely that union chiefs will be meeting early this week to decide on a course of action after workers at Jaguar and Land Rover rejected pay offers. A ballot on industrial action at both plants seems likely. The company's final offer was rejected strongly by workers, with 71% of  Land Rover employees saying no.

Under the proposals employees would have had up to £1,500 extra over the next 12 months. A 4.25 per cent rise on basic salaries would have been supplemented by a holiday bonus worth a further 1.5 per cent and a one-off agreement to take as cash at Christmas hours already worked, but "banked" for time off.

Last month workers at Land Rover downed-tools over pay.